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Potential free agents still available

Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports
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With training camps for the Bucs, the Dolphins and the Jaguars getting underway later in the month, we will constantly take a look at the potential free agent pool still sitting out there that could help any of them, if needed.

All three teams are coming off of losing seasons, and two of them have new coaching staffs. Plus, you factor the potential ofinjury in training camp or preseason and it may make it necessary to grab one of the upcoming veterans.

With that in mind, here are the prominent remaining names that legendary NFL personnel executive and current NFL media analyst Gil Brandt has. And, Brandt even went so far, as to place them on a likely roster for this fall, too.

At running back, Brandt has former Dolphins and Eagles back, Jay Ajayi, with the following analysis,

The question of whether or not Ajayi will be ready by Week 1 after suffering an ACL tear last October could be tempering interest in a veteran back who averaged a robust 5.1 yards per carry over 11 games with the Eagles in 2017 and ’18. Presuming Ajayi is able to return to health, he would be a logical fit with the Colts, given his familiarity with head coach Frank Reich. (Reich was Ajayi’s offensive coordinator in Philadelphia, where he was traded by Miami in ’17.) Only six people in NFL history have more 200-yard rushing games than Ajayi (three), and when he’s 100 percent, he can contribute as both a runner and a receiver.

With the recent four game PED suspension of veteran DB Ryan Smith, the Bucs might be interested in a veteran corner. While Tampa Bay doesn’t have much cap room, Brandt wonders if they could still make a restructure, etc. and perhaps go for former #1 pick Morris Claiborne,

A former first-round pick, who revived his career in New York over the past two seasons after a disappointing first stint with the Cowboys, in 2018, Claiborne recorded 57 tackles, 14 passes defensed and two picks, including one touchdown — all career highs. The coaching staff has changed over, and there is reported interest in Claiborne from Tampa, where Claiborne’s old head coach, Todd Bowles, is the new defensive coordinator. But I should think Claiborne would still fit in the Gregg Williams-helmed unit in New York.

Finally, if you are looking for veteran receiver help and a big target, former Panthers first rounder Kelvin Benjamin is someone Brandt likes,

Benjamin topped 1,000 receiving yards as a rookie, but more or less disappeared over the past two seasons, scraping together just over 1,000 combined yards while changing teams twice (he was traded to Buffalo in ’17, waived by the Bills last year and spent three games in Kansas City). With Odell Beckham Jr. gone, New York needs receiver depth. Might Gettleman and Shula’s familiarity with Benjamin help him get his career back on track?

The Fins and the Jaguars might also be in the market for the former Seminoles star.

Look for all three of those names, plus former Pro Bowl DT Muhammad Wilkerson, and Safety Eric Berry, plus, LB Nick Perry could all be in play, for August signings, as well.

NFL

Florida Attorney General files appeal in Robert Kraft case

John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

The Florida Attorney General has appealed a lower court ruling throwing out the video in New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft solicitation of prostitution case from Palm Beach this past January.

Attorney General Ashley Moody’s office just beat the Tuesday night October 1st deadline to file with Florida’s Fourth District Court of Appeals on the previous lower court ruling.

The 50 page legal brief concludes that authorities in Palm Beach County were within their right to obtain video surveillance of Kraft and numerous others having sex acts performed on them during a five day period in January at the “Orchids of Asia” Day Spa in Jupiter, Florida.

Kraft, the 78 year old owner of the Patriots, was allegedly captured on video on back-to-back days engaging in the illegal sex acts.

The Boston Globe obtained the legal brief which quoted Moody’s office,

“Based on video captured by surveillance cameras police installed in the Spa pursuant to a warrant, Mr. Kraft’s guilt is a virtual certainty.”

Kraft lawyers were not available for comment on the appeal to the paper Wednesday morning.

Kraft’s defense team won the key ruling to suppress the video for his case with circuit Judge Robert Hanser. In May Hanser agreed that the so-called “Sneak-and-Peek warrant” that the police officials obtained did not take enough precautions to protect the privacy of those who were going into the massage parlor and receiving legitimate massages.

The five-day surveillance netted charges against 25 men on solicitation of prostitution and lewd and lascivious conduct. Numerous ones of them have already plead guilty.

Kraft, who has a home in Palm Beach, was in the day spa just hours before he flew to Kansas City for the Patriots overtime AFC Championship Game win against the Chiefs that put them into Super Bowl 53.

The legal brief asserts that Kraft was not entitled to argue to the court about the rights of all of the defendants or anyone else that was surveilled on the video. Instead, Moody’s office wrote,

“Mr. Kraft lacks standing to vicariously assert the Fourth Amendment rights of third parties … Second, in no event would Mr. Kraft be entitled to total suppression of all video in the case; rather, he would be entitled to suppress only the unlawfully seized videos, a class which would not include the video evidence of his own prostitution offenses.”

In other words, he is only allowed to argue about his own situation and Hanser ruled incorrectly on that point.

Kraft’s side now has 30 days to respond. The appeals court is expected to rule later this winter and if they do so in favor of the Attorney General and the prosecutors, then the video may end up being released to the public even before a trial.

That is because, as we have detailed throughout this process earlier this year, defendants in Florida caught under any type of video surveillance in alleged criminal acts are not exempt from having that video released, even if they have not been tried or convicted.

Numerous local and national media outlets filed with the Palm Beach County Court to have the video released and that case is also still pending because of Hanser’s previous May ruling.

More serious than they likely fine, community service, etc. that Kraft might receive as punishment, is the possible discipline from the NFL under the personal conduct policy.

That could include fines and suspension, but the NFL traditionally waits for legal proceedings to finish first.

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NFL

Dolphins at home- Jags and Bucs out West Sunday

Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports

Week number four in the NFL has two of the state teams on the road out West and the other hosting a West Coast team in South Florida.

We begin with the Dolphins, off to their most miserable start in franchise history at 0 – 3 and having been blown out at all three games. They will play host to the L.A. Chargers.

The Chargers are struggling themselves having lost their last two games, including to Houston last week at home. Miami will keep Josh Rosen in at quarterback, and he played adequately in Dallas, despite the team only kicking two field goals.

The Chargers will welcome back their starting Pro Bowl running back, Melvin Gordon, who has ended his 9-week holdout seeking a new contract. Gordon is only expected to play sparingly, if at all.

The Jaguars, off a win over the Titans 10 days ago on Thursday Night Football, travel to Mile High to take on the Broncos. The biggest question mark is: defensive back Jalen Ramsey, who has an ongoing soap opera with the team about whether he is going to be traded?

Ramsey also apparently has a back and hamstring injuries and is listed as questionable for the game. However, he did travel with the team and may be out there playing this afternoon.

The Jacksonville pass rush registered nine sacks on Tennessee in the home win and now will try to get after Joe Flacco Sunday afternoon. Meanwhile, rookie quarterback Gardner Minshew has developed a connection with second-year receiver D.J. Chark hitting him with a TD in each of the last two games. And we’ll see if his “Minshew Magic” with throws and occasionally his feet, can continue in a difficult place to play.

Finally, the Buccaneers travel farther out west to Los Angeles to take on the unbeaten Rams.

Tampa Bay is still reeling from giving up an 18-point lead at home to lose to the Giants. This included, getting into easy field goal range only to have kicker Matt Gay miss it with no time left.

Wide receiver Mike Evans had a tremendous game with 190 yards and three touchdowns. However, he will likely be locked up with Pro Bowl DB Aqib Talib, who was originally drafted by the Buccaneers in 2008.

And, as we wrote earlier this week, the Bucs must contend with the NFL Defensive Player of the Year in defensive tackle, Aaron Donald. Trying to slow him down/keep him out of QB Jameis Winston’s face will be big.

And, on offense, the Rams have a high-powered attack led by QB Jared Goff and RB Todd Gurley is already looking running early in this season.

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